A letter to my journal

I guess you really are my bestfriend. Whoever created words are people that I am deeply indebted too. Imagine a world without poems and songs. I just couldn’t. 

Somehow, words feel as if it’s art. It is a dialect that I’m comfortable in, my safe place, my cocoon. When things are exciting, it’s you, my journal, that I tell these stories too. And when I feel suffocated, it’s you that I turn to.

I am beyond grateful that I have you as my bestfriend, as my crying shoulder and my emotional sponge. I have you to thank for helping me cope with a world that moves too fast for a person with a fragile heart. I have you to thank for being my playground and avenue of creative expression. I thank you, my journal, for being the witness to all the highs and lows of being a human.

My mind cannot fathom how 23 characters can make intangible ideas and thoughts feel so real. It is beyond my understanding how typing on a keyboard or grabbing a pen and paper can give such a cathartic feeling. Writing to you my journal, is one of the most magical things that I am grateful that I can do in this era.

Thank you, my journal, for listening to my rants, for accepting my rage, and for acknowledging that I can have all these thoughts and be rough around the edges, and still be accepted. Thank you for giving me the space to write about the nightmares and for immortalizing the good stuff. You have gotten me through a lot and helped me survive when I was walking in the darkest tunnel. With you, I know that I am safe.

I wish more people would write. I wish more would get to see the beauty that pouring yourself on a page could bring. I wish more would be more reflective of their thoughts. I do believe that if more people write on you, journal, there will be a better generation of humans.

This is for my bossy girls

We don’t stop just because a patriarchal society is what we were born into. We educate ourselves and then we share it to others by teaching them or by expressing ourselves through our lives and through our art.

Hi there, I know exactly how you feel. It is difficult to navigate life when you’re in a world wherein you’re expected to be submissive and quiet, even when it doesn’t feel good anymore. I don’t blame the people who has laughed at me when I say a lot of things. I just knew deep within that I have loads of ideas and I have a gift for seeing the big picture even as a young kid. I knew that I was set to be a leader the moment that I learned how to walk on my own feet.

I always wanted to be the owner of the house in bahay-bahayan (house). I want to be the teacher when we play school. I was the manager of Santa Claus’s factory when it’s December and we have to make gifts for the kids. I was a pain to my playmates. They just want to play and I freaking take everything seriously. Everything should be in order and should be executed at just the right time.

I didn’t want to act in school plays. I want to write and direct them. I would be the President of every possible school club and I’d get upset when I see an event that could have been handled better if I were the leader. I guess leadership aka the “Bossy Gene” is intricately sequenced in my DNA.

It wasn’t an easy path though. I didn’t understand why when a boy starts speaking, some of my teachers would listen more. When it was my turn to speak, and I’ll speak honestly and with conviction I was called bossy and Miss “May I say something.” This went on until I went away from home and studied in UP. I was actually surprised because in that school, I wasn’t called bossy anymore. I was told by my friends that I have “leadership skills.” Wow, that was a major reframe. All this time I thought there was really something wrong with me. I thought I was too opinionated, too know-it-all or too smart to my own demise. Finally, I did belong.

I started to look at things differently and I was able to truly express myself because I was far away from the people who tagged me as a stubborn, know-it-all girl. It took a long time to unlearn what has been constantly ingrained in my mind as a girl surrounded by traditional patriarchal values. I started wearing the clothes that I like, short shorts, sleeveless, swimsuits, and fitting clothes weren’t scary to wear anymore. I speak up in graded recitations because most of my professors are open-minded and accepting to new ideas that comes from students. I lead events and organizations, I danced, I explored my spirituality. I felt free.

It turns out, I had no problem at all. I was just stuck in an environment that didn’t allow me to grow. I didn’t realize that I was in a box and so when I got out of my comfort zone, I discovered who I am. I was an active, positive, and friendly person. I learned that there’s nothing wrong with being bossy. It was just most of the people from where I am weren’t exposed to feisty women who are unafraid to express their opinions. I also learned how to say things with respect, without compromising my beliefs. I learned that how you see yourself and how you genuinely feel about yourself matters way more than the opinions of your aunts and uncles.

I was able to enjoy life and maintain boundaries with those who destroy my peace. I discovered what I really wanted to do with my life and how I’ll do it.

To the bossy girl reading this, it will be tough and we have a lot of work to do to shift the mindset of the people around us. You will be called a lot of names and sometimes you might even believe them. Please always have the understanding that the people you encounter can only meet you from where they’re coming from. This is why we have to teach children the right values and expose them to feminism at a young age.

This can be exhausting. But we don’t stop just because a patriarchal society is what we were born into. We educate ourselves and then we share it to others by teaching them or by expressing ourselves through our lives and through our art. We stop looking at being bossy as something negative. We start calling ourselves ambitious and spiritually awake women with outstanding leadership skills.

We don’t stay silent just because we are expected to be a Maria Clara aka conservative Filipinas. We express who we are and share our opinions even when some men get uncomfortable because of how fearless we are. We change the world by first changing ourselves and we should always remember that you cannot tell people what to do. You just roll your sleeves and show them how it’s done.

Honesty Nightmare

I would often clam up at the moment of truth. I always say that I value honesty over a sweet lie. Truth is not something that we can expect from everyone. I myself am guilty of this sometimes, I mean most of the time.

And so here I am facing my laptop, trying to be as honest as I can at least to myself. I have been in a slump lately. Things and people are changing and as usual, I find it hard to keep up.

I remember last year how confused I was around this time. I was trying to heal and I was able to do so. I remembered how I did it and there’s just one constant thing that saved me. It is writing.

I would probably be pouring my heart out again for the next couple of days, weeks, or months, no matter how long it takes, to find my clarity again; to be centered again. I still am threading the path of being more present in every moment. I am in the process of transforming into a more resilient person, more accepting of the circumstances rather than being resistant.

I think where I fell is in my belief that every person is love-able. I gave too much of myself again, and in the end, it can’t be reciprocated. I put a person on a pedestal. So I had high expectations and was fazed with all the nice gestures and kindness. I forgot that just like any gadget, I also, am dispensable to someone else.

I enjoyed the attention, the feeling of someone always giving the time to bother you almost every waking hour. I missed the feeling of being special, because it’s been a long time since I let my walls down for anyone. Because, I hardened my heart for some reason.

Maybe it wasn’t you. Maybe it was just the feeling that I missed. And you were there. Sadly, I unconsciously got trapped. Here I am writing my heart out again, hoping that when the words flow out, you too will. I am not going to numb my heart, the way I did before. I’ll just feel it and write about it. I’ll be damned if you read this but whatever, at least I get to have the courage in an online space that would probably go unnoticed.

So how do I become honest to you? I don’t know. I will never know if I ever will be. I just think that after a year, this won’t even matter to me anymore, even though at the moment, it does.

Next year, I would probably be sitting in front of my laptop, laughing at how ridiculous I was, how funny our hearts could act, and how foolish we can be. But that thought gives me peace. In fact, I am looking forward to that day when this would all sound like a joke.

Oh yeah, I don’t know if I should give you my birthday gift. Should I? Fuck it. You’d forget about me anyway. Might as well be dumb and give it to you.

To the girl who’s tired of it all

I know that you want to help other people so much. You have a big heart that wants to take care of everyone . But you can’t. you are doing your best with what you have. You are doing great despite the shit sandwich thrown at you. You are okay. It’s still good. You’re still breathing. You have food on your plate, a job that you love, friends that support you, and a lot more. I know that it can be tiring. I know that sometimes you just wish you were born in different circumstances, that the responsibilities are not this heavy, that life isn’t this hard. I know that sometimes you’re tired of it all.

 But it’s okay.

 It’s okay to cry. It’s normal to be exhausted. Life is not meant to be perfect. Life is meant to be experienced. Let go of control and expectations. You’ve known at a young age that things cannot be controlled. No matter how much you plan out everything and prevent shitty things from happening, shit still happens. And it’s okay.

 You are still breathing. Your heart is still beating. And when those two are intact, then you have more than enough to be thankful for. It is not a problem, it is just a situation. Think of now. Think of this moment. It’s all you’ve got, the now.

 Embrace your life. Accept the present. Work and love. Breathe.You’re awesome.


A Letter to my Anxious Friend

Dear anxious friend,

I’ve heard that you are feeling helpless and exhausted. I’ve learned that you are tired of it all and terrified of the future. First of all, I want you to know that I am giving you my virtual hugs and that I am here for you. 

Why do you worry so much about what’s ahead? Why do you always think that you’re doomed?  Why don’t you just play?

Do you  find yourself overwhelmed with the work that you have to do and the responsibilities attached to you? Maybe you do. But I wrote this letter to remind you that you don’t need to think about the future all the time. Plan out your life. Have a vision. But please don’t miss the point of living. Experience it. Play.

I know that sometimes things can be overwhelming and you just want to escape the chaos that is  ‘your life’. But I want you to know that you just have to think about today. Think only about today.

Are you breathing? Is your heart beating?

Then you’re alright. You are just fine. You are going to be okay. Face the world with a playful heart and the lightness of a feather. Your day is not supposed to be suffering after suffering. Sometimes it seems like it’s like that. But believe me, it isn’t and it doesn’t have to.

Just look around you. Do you have a family that loves you, or a best friend that is always there to the rescue? If you’ve got even just one, then relax. You have more than enough to be fine.

If you’re looking around and what you see are your friends who seem like they got it all together, then it’s time to calm down. Breathe. We’re not in a race. It’s not about who becomes the richest or who has traveled the world most. Define success in your own terms.

Some people dream of living in the city and busting their ass in their work, while others dream of a calm, free, and peaceful life. Maybe you dream of living on a mountain. Who cares? It’s your life. If they’re doing big things it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. You are the painter of your own masterpiece. You decide what is the best life possible for you, no matter how big or small that is.

You do you.

Today you are okay. That’s all that matters. Only for today love. When you find yourself worrying, just place your hand on your heart, feel your breath and your heartbeat. If you can still feel it then that means you are just fine.

Listen to the true sound of your soul. Filter the noise. Live life in your own terms. Fly high or low, it doesn’t matter. You just have to be the most authentic you.  That will always be enough.